Posts Tagged ‘USA Pro Cycling Challenge’

Down in Denver, down in Denver, all I did was die

August 28, 2011
Turkish and Buddy

Associate editors Turkish and Buddy provided valuable oversight during the Vuelta a España and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

The (Not the) Tour of Colorado® raced to its conclusion in the Mile High City today, and I couldn’t be happier. These occasional stretches with stage races across the water and right here at home make for some long stints in the old VeloBarrel, especially since management decided there were too many necks still wearing heads.

For example, today I arose at 7 a.m., grabbed a cup of joe and sat down at the iMac. The VeloNews.com site was missing a little something — what should have been the marquee photo from Saturday’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge stage was instead a blank white box — so after a bit of frustrating flailing about in the website tool I re-edited and reloaded the pic and harmony was restored.

Next came a bit of Intertubular surfing, intended to find out what the hell was going on at the Vuelta a España. I touched base via IM with Charles Pelkey over at LiveUpdateGuy and contributed a bit of pointless snark as he interpreted the stage for his audience; then, once the streaming video from stage nine kicked in, I started writing the day’s race report.

Andrew Hood, the mainstay of European coverage for Velo and VeloNews.com, is following the Vuelta around Spain, but if someone can throw up a rudimentary stager to keep the punters occupied and buy him some time, it frees him up to do other stuff — gather quotes, write sidebars, compile his Vuelta notebook, and whatnot.

The Vuelta stage finished, I posted my report, results, a Graham Watson photo gallery, and two sidebars from Hoody — one about the toll the race has taken on worlds hopefuls, the other his notebook — plus a writethru of the stage report augmented by his quotes and on-site observations.

Next up: results from the GP Ouest France. Easy. No reporter there, no Agence France Presse report in English, so just results. Fat city.

The pièce de résistance: the Colorado race, the one drawing all the eyeballs. Short and sweet, that one. I got video about the time the break and chase were coming off Lookout Mountain, so it was the same drill —compile data and and write a stager while onsite staff ran the live updates and gathered intelligence, wait for a writethru, post a Casey B. Gibson gallery and finally swap out the marquee photo.

And suddenly it was 3 p.m. Time to dash to the grog shop for a sixer and then cool my heels (and my tonsils) while awaiting the final torrent of bits and bytes from the Colorado contingent.

It doesn’t sound like much, and frankly it isn’t. But it does take a fair amount of time, a commodity which is always in short supply.

Tomorrow I plan to swap the office chair for a Flite saddle and take a nice, long ride to somewhere. Please don’t run alongside me wearing a penis costume and beating on a giant IUD with a rubber sperm. It’s been a long week.

It’s a dog’s life

August 26, 2011
Buddy after his bladder-stone surgery

Buddy after his bladder-stone surgery.

I signed on for a couple extra shifts in the VeloBarrel during the Vuelta and (Not) The Tour of Colorado, and also have been chiming in mornings at Charles Pelkey’s newest venture, LiveUpdateGuy.com, so I’ve been scurrying about like a roach on a griddle the past couple of days.

Being a professional slacker who hasn’t had a full-time job since the fall of 1991 it always comes as a shock to my system whenever I actually have to work anything close to a full week. How the hell did I do it all those years? How the hell does anyone do it?

Every aspect of the literary and artistic life suffers as a consequence. Grocery trips become hectic affairs instead of leisurely noshing expeditions, and mealtime the equivalent of filling the tank at a Conoco. The quality and quantity of training declines. The liquor tab takes on Pentagonesque dimensions.

But at least no one has cut me, and I’m not wearing a cone. There’s an upside to everything.

Semi-prologue: a dog’s-eye view

August 22, 2011
Ridge Road, USAPCC

People too destitute to buy their own bike parts in this troubled economy wait at the corner of Ridge Road and Pikes Peak Avenue in hopes of being able to salvage some bike jewelry from a pro who overcooked the corner.

I spent midday rolling around the course for today’s prologue to the Vuelta de Vagary, otherwise known as (Not) The Tour of Colorado®, and found pretty much what I had expected: a bloodthirsty mob at the corner of Ridge Road and Pikes Peak Avenue; small clusters of fans elsewhere, mostly at the course’s few corners and at the finish; and … not much else.

I got to grade this thing, I give it a D.

The start made for good TV, as did the few shots of Ridge-Pikes Peak, but the finish was so-so, despite having Pikes Peak for a backdrop. The expo was tiny, though well-placed in a downtown parking lot, and with a packed valet bike-parking area. And I heard plenty of cheers but few complaints.

The long, straight shot down Colorado Avenue into a wind out of the east was the biggest turd in the punchbowl. I chatted up one cop east of Old Colorado City about the crowds, and he waved one hand at the spectators — a smallish herd you might see outside any Bibleburg bus stop, assuming you can still find one, which mostly you can’t — and said, “Pretty much what you see.” He also said he hadn’t heard any grumbling about the road closures, so we have that going for us.

For now, anyway. The comments section in Tuesday’s Gazette should be interesting. From what I saw of the route through the knick-knack shops of Old Colorado City, there wasn’t exactly a ton of tifosi clamoring to buy shit they didn’t need anyway. And the traffic downtown — denied use of Cascade and Colorado — was moderately hellish on Tejon Street.

And complete results didn’t appear until hours after the finish. C’mon. This was a prologue time trial, not a mountain stage. A chimp with a Timex could give you chapter and verse in 30 minutes or less or Dominos would give you a free pizza and then run the chimp over with a Ford Festiva.


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